Know the basics
What is calcitonin used for?
Calcitonin is a hormone that can regulate calcium in the blood and bone.
Calcitonin is avaialble in a nasal spray and in injection under the skin (subcutaneous, or subQ, injection) or into the muscle (intramuscular, or IM, injection).
With calcium and vitamin D, Calcitonin nasal spray is used to treat bone loss in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis who have been postmenopause for at least 5 years. This formulation form is not approved by Food and Drug Administration for treatment of Paget’s disease.
Calcitonin injection is indicated to treat Paget’s disease of the bone. It may also be used to treat bone loss in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis and to treat hypercalcemia.
How should I take calcitonin?
For both nasal and injection calcitonin, calcitonin may be given at home to patients who do not need to be in the hospital. If you are using calcitonin at home, your doctor will teach you how to prepare and use the medicine. You should be sure you understand exactly how to use indicated calcitonin and follow exactly these directions.
For injected calcitonin, you should:
- use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot.
- use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.
- carefully look at each vial (glass container) of medicine before you use itt o avoid damaged vial or if the medicine has changed color or has specks (particles) in it.
- throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through.
For nasal calcitonin, you should:
- blow your nose gently.
- keep your head upright and insert the tip of bottle into one nostril.
- hold the nasal spray upright with your first and second fingers on each side of the pump and your thumb on the bottom of the bottle.
- pump the spray unit firmly to spray the medicine into your nostril. you do not need to sniff or inhale deeply.
- do not blow your nose for at least a few minutes after using the nasal spray.
- if the spray gets in your eyes or mouth or on your skin, rinse with water.
How do I store calcitonin?
Calcitonin is best stored in the refrigerator. To prevent drug damage, do not freeze. There may be different brands of calcitonin that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush calcitonin down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Know the precautions & warnings
What should I know before using calcitonin?
Before taking calcitonin, tell your doctor if you:
- Have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to calcitonin or ingredients mentionned in label and package. To make sure you are not allergic to calcitonin, an allergy skin test before your first dose of calcitonin can be performed.
- Have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.
- Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
- Are taking any prescription or non-prescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement.
- Have low blood vitamin d levels
- Are taking lithium.
Is it safe to take calcitonin during pregnancy or breast-feeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using calcitonin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking calcitonin. Calcitonin is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk,
- B=No risk in some studies,
- C=There may be some risk,
- D=Positive evidence of risk,
Know the side effects
What are the side effects of calcitonin?
Get emergency call if you have any of allergic reaction signs: hives; fast heartbeats; feeling lightheaded; chest pain, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Contact your doctor intermediately if you have: a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; severe nasal irritation; or low levels of calcium in your blood–numbness or tingly sensation around your mouth, fast or slow heart rate, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes.
Others side effects of injected calcitonin may include:
- bleeding from your nose;
- runny or stuffy nose;
- dryness, itching, tenderness, or general discomfort of your nose;
- crusting, scabs, or sores inside your nose.
Other side effects of nasal calcitonin may include:
- Runny nose.
- Nasal discomfort, sores, or redness.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Know the interactions
What drugs may interact with calcitonin?
Bromhexine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Does food or alcohol interact with calcitonin?
Calcitonin may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with calcitonin?
Calcitonin may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:
- Hypocalcemia (low calcium in the blood)—Use with caution. May make this condition worse.
- Vitamin D deficiency—Must be treated first before using calcitonin.
- Paget’s disease—Use with caution. Some medicines used for this condition (for example, alendronate, etidronate, or risedronate) may keep calcitonin nasal spray from working properly.
Understand the dosage
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using calcitonin.
What is the dose of calcitonin for an adult?
Paget’s Disease of Bone
- Injection : 100 International Units (0.5 ml) per day administered subcutaneously or intramuscularly.
- Intranasal administration: 200 to 400 international units by once a day (400 intl units nasal dose compared to 100 international units intramuscular dose).
- Injection: for early treatment of hypercalcemia is 4 International Units/kg body eight every 12 hours by subcutaneous or intramuscular injection. The dose may be increased to 8 International Units/kg every 12 hours. maximum dose is 8 International Units/kg every 6 hours.
- Injection: 100 International units given every other day or 50 International units given once a day either subcutaneously or intramuscularly. Injectable doses may be increased to 200 or 400 International units once per day, as required.
- Intranasal administration: 200 intl units may be given intranasally once a day, alternating nostrils daily.
- Treament duration: long-term, lasting months or years.
What is the dose of calcitonin for a child?
The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How is calcitonin available?
Calcitonin is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Solution for injection: 200 Internation Units per mL. 400 IU per 2 mL (multiple-dose vial).
- Solution for nasal administration: 200 Internation Units per mL, 30 dose bottle.
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of calcitonin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Calcitonin (Injection Route). http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugssupplements-/calcitonin-injectionroute/description/drg-20073963. Accessed July 3, 2016.
Calcitonin (Nasal Route). http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/-calcitonin-nasal-route/description/drg-20067056/. Accessed July 3, 2016.
Calcitonin for Paget's Disease of Bone. http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis-/calcitonin-for-pagets-disease-of-bone. Accessed July 3, 2016.
Calcitonin nasal. https://www.drugs.com/mtm/calcitonin-nasal.html. Accessed July 3, 2016.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017